Let's take a look at the latest bit of evidence presented by the left to prove that law enforcement in America is nothing more than a racist conspiracy against black folks. The video went viral last night under the hashtag #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh (also the title of the next Jason Statham movie), and it shows, according to the Black Lives Matter camp, a bigoted white cop launching an unprovoked attack against a black high school student — an "innocent child," as they put it — by slamming her to the floor and "throwing her across the room." The officer, Ben Fields, has been placed on leave and is now being investigated by the feds for Civil Rights abuses.
Officer Ben Fields is seen removing a disruptive student from a classroom. (Image source: Screenshot)
As we've seen a hundred times by now, as far as the race mongers on the left are concerned, no other details related to this incident matter.
Cop: bad. Student: good. White people: racist.
That's all we need to know, they say. As insightful as that reasoning may be, I still believe it's worth going back and looking at the full story, because I think it's instructive (and because I'm a bigot, obviously).
According to the police department and eye witnesses, the student was disobeying school rules and disrupting class by using her phone. The teacher reasonably and justifiably asked her to hand it over. The student, of course, refused.
How dare this teacher tell her to do things? Respect authority? Listen to adults? Do as you're told? These are not concepts taught in many households in America these days.
The teacher, now officially in a no-win scenario, informed the student that, if she wouldn't obey the rules in the classroom, she'd have to leave and go to the office. Again, reasonable. The student refused. Again, unreasonable. Next, an administrator was called. The administrator asked her to leave and come to the office. She refused. Again.
Finally, having exhausted their limited options in dealing with an enormously defiant student, the school resource officer, Ben Fields, was summonsed. He asked her to get up and come with him. She refused. He asked again. She refused. He asked her, "Are you going to come with me, or am I going to have to make you?" She chose the latter. She was asked nicely by three different authority figures and given several chances to comply with their instructions. She refused, she refused, she refused, she refused, she refused. It was at that point that the officer took her to the floor, dragged her out of the chair and across the ground, and cuffed her. That's the whole picture, according to reports.
For the record, I think the cop could have perhaps been more gentle. But only a little more gentle. After all, this girl was given a simple, fair instruction by her teacher. Once she brazenly disrespected the teacher's authority and declined to comply with those instructions, she had to be removed from the room, one way or another. A teacher cannot be backed down by a kid who says, "Nope, I won't listen to you." A school cannot tolerate students who think the rules are optional. This appears to be what folks on the race-mongering left expect, but it would surely lead to anarchy in the classroom (well, more anarchy, anyway).
Once the student ignored orders to leave the class, the teacher had to call the administrator. Once the student ignored the teacher and the administrator, that's when the school resource officer had to step in. There's a clear process of escalation here, and all of it, to this point, is 100 percent the fault of the student. Then, when she ignored the resource officer's command to get up and come with him, he had no choice but to physically remove her. It's either that or keep pleading for another 45 minutes, or give up and let her stay, or try to coax her out of the class with toys and lollipops. All of those options seem insufficient to me. But it appears the Black Lives Matter crew think pleading, coaxing, asking, begging, bargaining, negotiating and bribing should be the only tools in a school's — or even a police officer's — arsenal.
Physically removing a non-compliant person from the premises is guaranteed to look "rough" and "violent" no matter how you go about it. Did it have to look that rough and violent? I don't know. I've never had to do it. Could he have lifted her out of the chair rather than flipping the chair back and dragging her out? Maybe, I guess, I don't know. But would that have looked any better on camera? Maybe, I guess, I don't know. Did he actually "throw her across the room"? Not across the room, no. Did he throw her at all? It looks like he might have.
So fine, whatever, investigate the cop. Not for civil rights crimes, but just internally inside the department to analyze how he dealt with the problem. It would be nice, though, if someone on the "cops are always wrong" side of the equation would for once explain how they think it should be handled, specifically. Amidst all the hand wringing over this police officer's actions, nobody has attempted to describe what, exactly, could have been done differently. As usual, there's a lot of "oh, she's a child!" and "he's twice her size!" and "no child deserves to be treated this way!" and "how dare a cop assault a girl just for going to school!" and so on, but no sober discussion of the actual realities of the situation.
It's irrelevant that she's a "child," and it's irrelevant that he's an adult (most cops are, I'm told), and it's ridiculous to claim she was "assaulted" just for being in school. The being-in-school part isn't the issue. The being-an-absurdly-defiant-disrespectful-and-selfish-student-who-takes-great-pains-to-disrupt-the-class-and-provoke-an-altercation-with-authority-figures part, however, is. So what should he have done? Should she have been allowed to stay in the class? Allowed to use her phone just because she wanted to? Allowed to do whatever she felt like doing?
If not, physical removal was the last resort, and it was a last resort made necessary by the student. How, then, do you physically remove a non-compliant human being without it looking "aggressive" and "violent"? How, exactly? Any thoughts? Anything? Anyone? Hello? OK, he shouldn't have tipped the chair back and "thrown her," fine, but in all honesty, is there any way in which this white cop could have forcefully extracted this black teenage girl from the room that wouldn't be called racist by Black Lives Matter? No, obviously. And that's why Black Lives Matter isn't respected or taken seriously by anyone outside of the far left. Everything, to them, is literally black and white. The black person is right, the white person is wrong, the end. Goodnight. That's all.
Leftist race mongers never, ever hold the other side even a little bit accountable. They made a martyr out of Mike Brown even though he was a violent thief who, it's now been proven, violently assaulted a police officer. They made a martyr out of Eric Garner even though he was a lifelong crook who seemed to seek out trouble with law enforcement at every turn. They made a martyr out of Freddie Gray even though he was a drug dealer with a lengthy rap sheet. Even if these deaths were "unjustified" — and Mike Brown's was without a doubt completely justified — it's absurd to treat the actions and choices of the perpetrator as irrelevant. Moreover, if the goal is to minimize violent interactions between cops and black people, we should be putting the onus on both sides to avoid such interactions. For cops, that means using violence only when necessary — a message I think everyone agrees with, including most cops — and for black people (and all people, but the leftist race mongers don't care about white people killed or "assaulted" by cops) it means refraining from committing crimes, resisting arrest and defying lawful instructions. I really don't think that's too much to ask, is it?
Scott Olson/Getty Images
You don't want black girls to be dragged out of classrooms in public schools? Good, neither do I. Nobody wants to see that. But, leftist race mongers, that means you have to stop ignoring the fact that these incidents don't happen out of nowhere. That cop didn't just barge into the room and randomly pull the nearest black student out of her chair. He was asked to respond after the student couldn't be bothered to obey a rule or listen to her teacher or listen to an administrator.
And yes, a lot of us have gotten in trouble in school, acted out, been sent to the principle's office, etc. I was no angel myself. But I never would have dreamed of refusing to leave the classroom even after a teacher, an administrator and a cop told me to. For God's sake, that's not just a little minor youthful indiscretion. That's a dramatic and severe statement of total defiance and disrespect for every authority figure in the school. I can tell you this for sure: If I'd treated my teacher and administrator and a cop like garbage, refused to listen to them even after they pleaded with me, then been dragged out of the classroom like a sack of potatoes, my parents would have definitely been very angry. At me. Completely, totally, solely at me. I'm sure of it.
This doesn't have to be an either/or. You can accuse the cop of going from zero to 100 too quickly, you can make that case and describe in specific terms what could have been done differently, and also hold the kid accountable for her totally inexcusable actions. If you're going to do the former, you have to do the latter, otherwise you're yet again absolving the party that caused the whole situation in the first place. And if that's what you're doing — and that's exactly what Black Lives Matter always does — the rest of us can't be expected to respect your point of view. How could we? How could we respect a belief system that says the people who enforce the rules and the laws are always wrong, and the people who break the rules and the laws are always right, so long as the former are white and the latter are black? I couldn't lend any credence to that opinion even if I wanted to.
Therefore, if the Black Lives Matter mob wanted to be taken seriously by non-leftist radicals, they'd make their criticisms of the police, then they'd move on to urging black teens to respect authority. They'd look at this case from yesterday and ask what in the world went wrong in this kid's home that she turned into the type of person who has to be physically ejected from her classroom? They'd hold parents responsible to teach their kids to obey the rules, listen to their elders and demonstrate at least a modicum of consideration for, and deference to, teachers and law enforcement officers. They'd send the message loud and clear that, whether you think cops are too aggressive or not, the best way to avoid being on the wrong end of their aggression is to simply follow the rules. It's not hard. It really isn't.
"Don't use your phone in class" is, by the way, a pretty basic regulation. And getting your phone confiscated if you disobey it is a pretty basic follow-up. And getting sent to the office if you refuse to listen to your teacher is the pretty basic next step. Millions of kids go to school every day and cooperate with this system. Many others break the rules but at least comply when they're told to leave. Some still refuse but would certainly perk up and listen when a cop shows up. Only a small minority would demonstrate total disregard every step of the way, even up to the point of law enforcement involvement.
Maybe, then, we need to do more than quibble with the way the authorities handle these extreme troublemakers and start talking about why they're like that to begin with. The answer is going to be partly their own choice, their own free will, and partly an utter dereliction of duty by the parents (or probably parent, singular). If Black Lives Matter, and they surely do, we would be having this conversation. We would stop blaming the cops for everything all the time and start passing some of the blame over to the people who show no concern for the rules or the law.
But Black Lives Matter folks won't let us have that conversation because, when it comes down to it, black lives don't really matter to Black Lives Matter.
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